Living in Poplar Grove, Salt Lake City

poplar grove neighborhood

The Poplar Grove area of Salt Lake City is known for its low home prices and fantastic Mexican restaurants. Made up mostly of young couples and families with kids at home, this west side neighborhood is bordered by two major interstates and the popular 9 Line Trail on the south. A move to Poplar Grove is a great choice if you value close proximity to downtown and a strong sense of community.

Affordability: There’s no place better

The cost of buying or renting a home in Poplar Grove is a huge draw for many of the neighborhood’s residents. With a median home price of $141,100 and median rent of $1,159 a month, no other neighborhood in the city is more affordable. For the most part, Poplar Grove’s quiet residential streets are made up of small homes and yards, making it a perfect spot for singles, couples, and young families.

Getting around: By car or by bike

Commuters from Poplar Grove almost exclusively travel by car, which makes sense given the neighborhood’s easy access to freeways and some of the city’s major thoroughfares. Public transit offers a few options as well, and the neighborhood’s bike lanes and flat terrain make biking a good way to go. Poplar Grove’s southern border is defined by the 9 Line Trail, a multi-use pathway enjoyed by bikers and pedestrians alike. The 9 Line is a great route into downtown and intersects with the expansive Jordan River Trail, which runs the length of the entire Salt Lake valley and into neighboring counties as well.

Restaurants: Great burritos on every corner

The restaurants in Poplar Grove make one thing clear: this neighborhood has a serious appreciation for Mexican food. Julia’s Mexican Restaurant and La Frontera are delicious spots to try, and if you’re looking for a little Cancun influence, you can’t go wrong with Chunga’s. Check out Panaderia Flores for baked goods. In 2015, beloved hole-in-the-wall Taqueria El Rey De Oros landed on Yahoo’s list of the best burritos in America (the only spot in Utah to earn the honor!). Red Iguana 2, located just within Poplar Grove’s boundaries on South Temple street, is Salt Lake City’s undisputed favorite for authentic Mexican fare.

Love for Mexican food doesn’t stop with restaurant selection. Out of four grocery stores in the Poplar Grove neighborhood, three cater specifically to Latin American tastes. Take a look at Campos Market, Mi Tierra Market, and La Diana Market for all you need to try your favorite Mexican recipes at home.

Schools: A wide variety of options

Local school boundaries cut through the Poplar Grove neighborhood in a number of spots, so elementary age kids in the area attend five different schools; two of them (Edison Elementary and Franklin Elementary) are actually located in the neighborhood. Older students usually attend Glendale Middle School and either East High or Highland High, both found on the east side of the city. As is the case for most schools in the Salt Lake City School District, these schools tend to perform poorly when it comes to student testing. Test scores can’t tell you everything, but if you’re concerned about the quality of education your child might receive at their assigned school, check out local private schools, charter schools, and school choice transfer options in the area.

Crime: A significant problem

The crime rate in Poplar Grove is definitely something to consider when you’re planning a move to the area. According to the FBI statistics on, Poplar Grove has significantly higher rates of violent crime and property crime than the Salt Lake City average. This trend holds true in the nearby neighborhoods of Glendale and Fairpark as well, prompting many northern Utah families to settle down elsewhere. If you’d like to know the specifics, the Salt Lake City Police Department has a wealth of stats to check out.

Things to do: Where the community comes together

The Poplar Grove neighborhood has a strong sense of community, perhaps best exemplified by residents’ commitment to local involvement. The Poplar Grove Community Council is active, often hosting events and public forums, and with spots like the Chapman Library Branch, the Neighborhood House, and the Lied Boys & Girls Club available, many families find needed help with childcare and enriching activities. Welfare Square, operated by the LDS Church, is also found in Poplar Grove and features a bakery, cannery, thrift store, employment center, and other valuable resources.

If public parks are more your speed, Poplar Grove has you covered there as well. 9th South River Park is a calm area adjacent to the Jordan River, perfect for a picnic in the summertime. Poplar Grove Park and Sherwood Park offer more amenities, including playgrounds, tennis courts, sand volleyball, and baseball fields.

With a thriving population of native Spanish speakers and the most affordable homes in Salt Lake City, the Poplar Grove neighborhood is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a quiet, up-and-coming location close to downtown. Plans are currently in place to improve Poplar Grove’s reputation and opportunities, all without sacrificing local identity. Current and future residents can expect significant improvements to an already outstanding community in the future.

About Sara Hanks

Sara Hanks